Mr Mercedes, by Stephen King

Bill Hodges, a retired detective is contacted by a killer who was one of the few that got away. The crime involved the stealing of a Mercedes, which the killer drove into a crowd of people, before escaping the scene of the crime and leaving no substantial clues.

I'd seen this in the shops and assumed it was a horror book, but it turned up as a 99p Kindle deal and when I read the synopsis I realised it was a more "standard" novel. I don't particularly mind the horror stuff but I do like King's non-horror work (Joyland was really good - although ISTR it may have had a bit of ghosty stuff in it) so 99p seemed like a bargain.

And I wasn't disappointed - this kept me hooked for a couple of days, trying to make time to read a bit more, and gripped pretty much to the end of the book, which wasn't as anti-climactic as King's books often tend to be.

I couldn't help but be struck by the research that King must have done into the IT side of things, especially after reading the woeful stuff in Dead Girl Walking. There are a few places in here where the way computers work is fairly key to the plot. But I couldn't fault the way he described these, and it all sounded like King had either knew what he was talking about, or had consulted someone who had. Tiny example was the messaging board that was used: it was described as being confidential, with any exchanged messages being lost once you logged out. Select/copy was disabled, so you couldn't make copies of conversations like that. King described that the software couldn't stop you taking screenshots, but that this was a pain. I bet if Brookmyre had written this, he'd either not have thought of screenshots, or would have stipulated some clever software that disabled screenshotting (or taking pictures of the screen, probably).

This is the first of a trilogy about Bill Hodges, and I'd definitely be up for reading the other two (one's already out, but not 99p unfortunately).

Completed : 11-January-2016

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